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John Mauldin

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John Mauldin is a renowned financial expert, a New York Times best-selling author, and a pioneering online commentator. Each week, over 1 million readers turn to Mauldin for his penetrating view on Wall Street, global markets, and economic history.

Thoughts from the Front Line - “But the emperor has nothing at all on!” said a little child. “Listen to the voice of innocence!” exclaimed his father; and what the child had said was whispered from one to another. “But he has nothing at all on!” at last cried out all the people. The emperor was suddenly embarrassed, for he knew […]

April 14th, 2019 | Japanified World Ahead

Thoughts from the Front Line - Regular readers may have noticed me slowly losing confidence in the economy. Your impression is correct and there’s a good reason for it, as I will explain today. The facts have changed so my conclusions are changing, too. I still think the economy is okay for now. I still see recession odds rising considerably in […]

April 7th, 2019 | Capitalism Gone Wild

Thoughts from the Front Line - Recession is coming. We can debate the timing, but the economy will turn decisively downward at some point. My own analysis, looking at the data available on April 4, says recession isn’t likely this year but unfortunately looks very probable in 2020. In addition to when it will happen, there’s also the question of how […]

March 31st, 2019 | Recession Signs Everywhere

Thoughts from the Front Line - This month, the Federal Reserve joined its global peers by turning decisively dovish. Jerome Powell and friends haven’t just stopped tightening. Soon they will begin actively easing by reinvesting the Fed’s maturing mortgage bonds into Treasury securities. It’s not exactly “Quantitative Easing I, II, and III,” but it will have some of the same effects. […]

March 24th, 2019 | No Free Lunch, Part 2

Thoughts from the Front Line - Matching the stock market’s long-term average returns sounds like it should be easy, if you’re patient enough. But in fact it is remarkably difficult. In last week’s letter, Ed Easterling and I showed you why it is a longshot bet in almost every market environment. Returns over a decade or two are usually well above […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - Last week, I described the enormous challenges retirees face. One reason for that, aside from insufficient savings, is that markets haven’t delivered the returns many experts said we could plan on. Back in the late 1990s, we were told that the long-term average return (~10%) was a reasonable long-term assumption—even if the market cooled down […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - I have long said I don’t want to retire. I enjoy my work. It’s not too physical, other than the travel (which is finally beginning to wear on me). Also, my savings are not yet sufficient to sustain the retirement lifestyle Shane and I want. I could retire now but would rather wait. Fortunately, I […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to read the Federal Reserve’s rabbit entrails to discern the economy. But Since the Fed exists in the real world, and its decisions matter, we have to pay attention. Just so new and perhaps even old readers know my views on the Fed: I believe we need it […]

February 24th, 2019 | Recession: Are We There Yet?

Thoughts from the Front Line - An old joke says economists predicted 15 of the last 10 recessions. In other words, they’re frequently wrong and often too pessimistic. I think it’s not so simple. Every recession prediction is eventually correct; some just get the timing wrong. That’s because, so long as we have a business cycle, a recession is always coming. The only […]

February 17th, 2019 | Modern Monetary Madness

Thoughts from the Front Line - More than 10 years ago some Australian readers begin regaling me with the ideas of economist Bill Mitchell of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. He was teaching about something he called (and he coined the term) Modern Monetary Theory. I looked into it and fairly quickly dismissed it as silly. Actually printing […]

February 10th, 2019 | Capitalism Without Competition

Thoughts from the Front Line - The Soviet Union’s collapse and spread of semi-free markets through Eastern Europe seemingly ended the socialism vs. capitalism argument. Capitalism had won. Collectivist economies everywhere began turning free. Even communist China adopted a form of free market capitalism although, as they say, with “Chinese characteristics.” The fruits of capitalism: millions of people freed from abject […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” —US President Dwight D. Eisenhower There are many versions of that Eisenhower quote he learned in the Army. Nixon, who probably heard it from Eisenhower directly, modified it to “… plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Both are variations on the theme, “No battle plan survives first […]

January 27th, 2019 | How Should We Then Invest?

Thoughts from the Front Line - “To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it.” —Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State This month I’ve discussed some possible pathways for 2019. But beyond that, for the past year or so, I have been talking about what I think may unfold over the next decade. The term […]

January 20th, 2019 | Bull in the China Shop

Thoughts from the Front Line - The production of souls is more important than the production of tanks…. And therefore I raise my glass to you, writers, the engineers of the human soul. Joseph Stalin, 1932 [Our purpose is] to ensure that literature and art fit well into the whole revolutionary machine as a component part, that they operate as powerful […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - For a couple of years now, the economic narrative has shown a comparatively strong US against weakness in Europe and some of Asia (NOT China). The US, we are told, will stay on top. I agree with that, as far as it goes… but I’m not convinced the “top” will be so great. Americans like […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. …By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. – William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I, 1606 Remember when it was a January ritual to fill in the new year on your blank checks? If you’re under 50, probably not. That we […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - A winters day, In a deep and dark December… “Wait, it doesn’t feel like winter. It’s not deep and dark, and it’s actually warm, and the sun is shining. Toto Shane, I don’t think we’re in Kansas Texas anymore.” Yes, we have actually moved from Texas to a new location. I’ll explain why and where […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - We have reached the best time of year, when we can look to the future with hope. We can stop wondering what will happen in 2018 and look forward to 2019. The investment industry always does this enthusiastically, as you will see in forecasts everywhere the next few weeks. Not wanting to be left out, […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - Everybody is suddenly talking about the inverted yield curve. They’re right to do so, too, but alarm bells may be premature. Inversion is a historically reliable but early recession indicator. The yield curve isn’t saying recession is imminent, even if it were fully inverted, which it is not. What we see now is really more […]

December 9th, 2018 | European Threats

Thoughts from the Front Line - Someone asked recently how many times I had “crossed the pond” to Europe. I really don’t know. Certainly dozens of times. It’s been several times a year for as long as I remember. That makes me an extremely unusual American. Most of us never visit Europe, except maybe for a rare dream vacation. And that’s […]

December 2nd, 2018 | Pyramids of Crisis

Thoughts from the Front Line - In an increasingly divided world, we all share one great desire: self-preservation. Not just humans, either. The survival instinct exists in almost every living thing. Humans simply have greater ability to do something about it. In fact, we have been doing something about it for many thousands of years. An inverted pyramid of geniuses and […]

November 25th, 2018 | Double Debt Problem

Thoughts from the Front Line - The selloff in GE is not an isolated event. More investment grade credits to follow. The slide and collapse in investment grade debt has begun… (and later) Don’t be fooled by bond prices holding up, because trading volumes are down. There are fewer bids in the market, and the dispersion of bids is wider. It […]

November 18th, 2018 | Seventh-Inning Debt Stretch

Thoughts from the Front Line - Science tells us energy can neither be created nor destroyed within a closed system. Whatever amount is there will stay the same, though it might change form. If only the same were true for debt. Within the closed system called Earth, we are much better at creating debt than eliminating it. But when we have […]

November 4th, 2018 | Economic Brake Lights

Thoughts from the Front Line - But, like Cinderella at the ball, you must heed one warning or everything will turn into pumpkins and mice: Mr. Market is there to serve you, not to guide you. It is his pocketbook, not his wisdom, that you will find useful. If he shows up some day in a particularly foolish mood, you are […]

October 28th, 2018 | Debt Alarm Ringing

Thoughts from the Front Line - Is debt good or bad? The answer is “Yes.” Debt is future spending pulled forward in time. It lets you buy something now for which you otherwise don’t have cash available yet. Whether it’s wise or not depends on what you buy. Debt to educate yourself so you can get a better job may be […]
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